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Creating Meaningful SLO’s Without the Hassle

Aug 28, 2015

by Tom DeMarco

Last year I wrote an SLO blog post that explained why a teacher should embrace Student Learning Objectives. This year I want to take a more pragmatic approach. The Student Learning Objective requirement is an opportunity to target a specific area need. Think laser-like approach when selecting the SLO areas.

Let’s keep it simple, so our game plan will be to look at the state exam information. These 10,000 pound gorillas are basically what the community and government use to pass judgment on your school. Lots of proficient students and you get the “thumbs up, atta-boy”. Now we all know there are many ways to determine how well a school is functioning besides using the gorilla but - well let’s not get into this school evaluation discussion right now. We are turning back to SLO’s.

As I said, we should use a laser-like focus on an area of need and create the SLO based on that data. The state exam results are a good place to start when determining academic needs. The easiest way to accomplish this is by using a data analysis tool of some type. Whether it’s a spreadsheet, website, or a state exam assessment data from your district’s data analysis system, pick an area of need and go to where it shows the results by standard. If you happen to use the EdInsight system the report to run is an Anchor level report. 

Here is a screen shot of the dashboard widget which clearly shows Standard A1.2.1 is the area of greatest need (Functions - Define, Evaluate, and Compare Functions).


The obvious choice is the function standard. That is the one the previous Algebra 1 students did the poorest on. With the right tools the search is that simple. Next step is to create the SLO that is going to target the function standard. Follow your state’s procedure and then at some point you will need to measure the SLO to verify if it was successful. Here is a free SLO tool to help you measure the SLO results. It will measure growth or mastery and it’s very simple to use.


Good luck with this year’s Student Learning Objective.

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